Spring may have sprung (just absorb those gorgeous pops of color around you), but sometimes Mother Nature is whimsical and throws a snowball or two. Although I missed San Luis Obispo County's brilliant storm last week—rain, hail and booming thunderstorms!—my trip to the Sierra Foothills in Madera County brought its own gratifying flurry of remarkable mizzle.
Friday morning, chill-to-the-bone temperatures brought ideal conditions for a plump deluge of falling snow. These lovely wet, fluffy snowballs fell from the sky, blocking our view and barricading the air. Later in the day, after the flakes halted, the lingering nippy wintry weather left us in need of something warm from the oven. The perfect solution? Broiled veggie quesadillas. Thanks, mom.
Her idea to broil the hothouse cherry tomatoes and other vegetables on hand was brilliant. Nothing beats a warm oven emanating the blistering aroma of snarling roasting colors on an arctic day. The following recipe is adaptable and satisfying, sure to warm your core on any chilly occasion. Heck, even fine on a warmer day.
Serves 4 – 8 as a hearty snack
4 large tortillas (we used a thick variety made of half corn, half wheat)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 cups chopped/sliced vegetables of your choice
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil + extra for grilling
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cumin
6 garlic cloves, peeled & left whole
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
1 tablespoon butter
Optional garnishments: salsa, hot sauce, sliced avocado, black olives, sour cream
Preheat oven to broil and place rack in the middle. Wash your veggies then chop and slice. You can get creative with your ingredients—this is a great recipe to use up whatever cruciferous delights you’ve got lurking in your fridge. But the cherry tomatoes are a must. Once they start to pop and melt in the oven, their bright, rich aroma and flavor make your cold day worthwhile.
Toss tomatoes and veggies with oil, paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic, and salt & pepper in an oven-safe dish. Place under broiler and watch carefully. Depending on your oven’s temperament, the whole process may take between 10 – 20 minutes. Stir the jumble every 5 minutes to prevent scorching. You’ll know it’s done when you pierce the vegetables with a fork and they are soft to your liking.
Remove from the oven and squeeze the juice from the lime over your hot muddle. Heat a pan (large enough to accommodate a tortilla) on the stovetop over medium with a touch of oil and butter. Throw a tortilla down, sprinkle with cheese and plop on a fourth of your veggies. Dot the top with some of the cilantro. Grill for a few minutes until cheese is melted and underside of tortilla is light brown and crispy. Fold tortilla over and plate. You can cut in half or serve as-is with the garnishments of your choice.
Eat up paired with a nice crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a margarita, or your favorite cerveza to break the heat in your mouth.
Warm. Delicious. Satisfying.
All text and photos copyright @ 2012 by Elizabeth in SLO. All rights reserved.